On 14th November 2015, Avoch Community Rowing Club (AKA “The Skiffties”) hosted their first regatta with eight clubs participating in a full days racing schedule. The 1km (0.62 mile) course was set in Avoch Bay within full view of the beach and weather conditions were as near to perfect given the uncertainty due to winter storm Abigail. The winds were light and the weather dry and chilly but extremely favourable for a mid-November Saturday.
Skiffs from Ardersier (“Esther”), Burghead (“Tarbh Uisge”), Findhorn (Joppa”), Findochty (“Morag”), Helmsdale (“Pride of Bunillidh”), Portsoy (“Soy Quine”) and Wick (“Pulteney Lass”) made the trip to compete alongside the host club Avoch (“Zulu”) in nine scheduled races in the following categories: Race 1 – Women’s Over 50’s Race 2 – Men’s Over 50’s Race 3 – Women’s Open Race 4 – Men’s Open Race 5 – Women’s Mixed Decades Race 6 – Men’s Mixed Decades Race 7 – Women’s Over 40’s Race 8 – Men’s Over 40’s Race 9 – Open Mixed After the Cox’s Brief given by Avoch’s Sally MacAdie, the teams prepared for the 1st race of the day, the Women’s Over 50’s, which got under way slightly later than scheduled. This was won by the hosts Avoch with Burghead 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd . Helmsdale secured victory in the Men’s Over 50’s with Avoch 2nd and Wick 3rd and Avoch returned to winning ways in the Women’s Open with Helmsdale 2nd and Wick taking another 3rd place.
The Men’s Open race was won by Avoch with Wick 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd and this cemented the three way race for the overall team trophy. In the Women’s Mixed Decades race, Helmsdale were victorious with Portsoy 2nd and Wick 3rd and victory for Helmsdale came shortly after in the Men’s Mixed Decades race with Wick 2nd and Findhorn 3rd .
After a short break for lunch, racing resumed with the Women’s Over 40’s race and Avoch came out victorious with Helmsdale 2nd and Findhorn 3rd. Helmsdale were again winners with victory in the Men’s Over 40’s race with Burghead 2nd and Avoch
3rd . There was a parallel race held during the Mens Over 40’s which saw two teen crews, Portsoy & Burghead (with an Avoch teen) battle it out over a 500m sprint. Fittingly, this race ended in a draw and both teams picked up medals at the prize-giving. This only left the Mixed Open to decide the winners of the Team Trophy. In the final and most exciting race of the day, Avoch claimed victory over Helmsdale by one second with Wick claiming bronze. However, second place was enough to secure the necessary points for Helmsdale to emerge as overall team winners.
Once all the boats had been brought back to shore, the teams made their way to Zulu’s shed for the prize-giving ceremony with medals and team trophy being presented by Councillor Jennifer Barclay. The medals were designed and made by junior Skifftie members Erin and Drew and they were well received by all those who won them. Helmsdale received the locally made Team Trophy commissioned by the club and sponsored by The Chatterbox (a local community newspaper) with Avoch in 2nd and Wick in 3rd – there were just two points separating Helmsdale and Avoch which showed just how competitive the racing was on the day. Special mention must go to Findochty who only launched their skiff “Morag” in October 2015 and it was great to see them at their first ever regatta.
Avoch Community Rowing Club would like to extend their thanks to all the clubs who participated and all those who helped organise and run the event on the day. The hope next year’s will be even bigger and better!
There are some pictures on the gallery pages link below.
Ice Breaker Regatta